Aggressive track-density scaling in linear magnetic tape recording has been identified as a key means of sustaining capacity scaling. As the reader width decreases, the relative signal contribution of the written track region outside the lateral extent of the reader increases. We model, analyze and quantify side-reading effects of shielded magneto-resistive read heads reading narrow tracks on perpendicular-oriented tape media. We compare results from extended analytical models with experimental data. An understanding of these effects will be important in designing track misregistration budgets and SNR margins for future operating points of parallel-channel tape recording systems. © 2013 IEEE.